This past June I had the privilege of traveling to Colombia on a mission trip with my borther-in-law, David Richardson who has been going to Colombia for the past 5 years or so.

 

Our group of 40 spent seven days in the capitol city of Bogota visiting orphanages.

 

To give you a bit of background, approximately 32% of Bogota citizens are living in poverty which means they earn less than $2 per day. Currently there are estimated to be over 577,000 orphans throughout Colombia. Interpol estimates there are 35,000 women and girls trafficked out of Colombia every year for the sex trade, with estimated profits of $500 million, making Colombia second only to the Dominican Republic in the West.

 

Our purpose was not to fix or change their environment, but to give the gift of presence to hundreds of orphaned children and show them the love of Jesus. We visited one boy's orphanage and two girl's orphanages spending the days playing games, doing crafts, ministering to the children and giving them as much love and attention as possible. We also had the opportunity to visit a safe house where some of the 18-20 year olds who’ve aged out of the system live and work while they learn to become self-sufficient adults.

 

The children were all very grateful for our visit, but it was obvious the members of our team had gained much more from these experiences than we could’ve possibly given to those kids. On the third day of our trip, I personally became very attached to a young lady that God kept putting into my field of vision. He made it impossible for me to ignore her in the confusion of the other children.  She took my hand later in the day and we played all day and enjoyed a meal together. She totally captured my heart and I knew without a doubt that God had placed her firmly in my heart.

 

Although she spoke no English and I knew very little Spanish, we had an instant connection. Although I interacted with several of the children, this one little girl completely had my heart. I returned a changed person and could not get her off my mind. I told my wife, Charlotte, about her and she knew because of her trust in my and her trust in our Lord that we had to help this young lady. After over a month of prayer, we made the decision to commit to being her Padrino/Madrina.

 

We were accepted and after spending a week with her in January, we made the ultimate decision to adopt her. Months of arduous paperwork and emotions later, we learned 2 weeks before our travel that she had ran away from her institution. We were heartbroken and spent many months in depressed mourning. Why had God led us to take this emotional Journey? It was months before we changed our prayer from "give us our happy ending" to "God, please keep her safe and happy."

 

After a mission trip that same October, God once again spoke to both our hearts about adoption. We weren't ready emotionally and tears were plentiful, I assure you. It was another emotional roller coaster for us. But, there was no mistaking that our Lord was asking us to do MORE!

 

So now, we have applied all our paperwork and finances to adopting two beautiful girls we have known for many years. They have accompanied our group on trips as the God children of our translator, and we were happy to be able to provide them a home. Our hearts are full again, and we look forward to them joining our family in only a few short months in the spring of 2013.

Our God niece and future daughters!
I first went with my Uncle David. It was hard leaving my family but I felt a calling even though I was scared. I bonded with my Uncle in a wonderful way. I went on this trip not knowing anyone, and went home having many lifelong friends. I spiritually became closer to God while we were gone. I got to see Him working everyday. I had been praying to see God other than at church. I truly saw him in everything that we did. His thumb print was all over this mission. I believe that those children helped me way more than I could have ever helped them. The light of the Lord shines in many of those children’s eyes. The words that come out of their mouth still astonishes me.The first day or two of the trip I was alone and very much feeling it. I quickly felt apart of the group due to my own insecurities.  When I first left for this trip, I had no idea what to expect.  I thought this might be fun, a good experience, a little vacation. However, God used me tremendously, and before the week was out I was there for the children.  He is the one that brought me there, He is the one that kept me safe throughout week, and He is the one that sent me there to do His work. People were telling me that they could see a difference in me from when we first began this jouney.   They said that I had blossomed.  I feel like a new person. I feel refreshed and feel spiritually connected to my God in a whole new way.  My mission was to help the orphans and do God’s will.  I was there to do HIS work. I came home a different person than when I left.  I give GOD the glory.  I life up my hands to HIM. I can not explain some of the things that happened to me on this mission trip, and I do not have words to describe some of my experiences. God knows what path he is leading me down and I am just here to follow him.  I am going to do His will and anything He leads me to do.        Melissa Sosebee